If you're a business owner, consultant, or freelancer, you've undoubtedly been through the struggle of trying to grow your business without breaking the bank. In fact, chances are, the desire to acquire more clients, sell higher value services, or ship more products will consistently be part of your business plan. And it should be!
Even if you already have an established offering that's proven itself to bring value to new or existing customers, there’s always the opportunity to take your business or small business to the next level. You want to book yourself solid with not just clients that pay the bills, but clients who allow you to charge more and build your reputation as a leader in your industry. Business development is no easy feat. Pulling it off requires a very strategic, well-thought-out approach to formulating your value proposition specifically for your ideal clients.
Here’s how you're going to grow a successful business.
1. Identify Your Target Customers
It's important to understand why you need a clearly defined picture of your target customers in the first place. If you don't understand the customer base who not only needs but is willing to pay for your products or services, you're going to waste a lot of time trying to pitch yourself to the wrong people. You’re not going to be everything to everyone, that's just not possible – and you shouldn’t want to be. Your goal should be to build a powerful reputation for your impactful services, within your niche.
In order to do this effectively, you need an intimate knowledge of the target customers you’re going after. Learn their interests, what motivates them, if they're analytical or creative, and most importantly which goals you can help them achieve. For example, if you're targeting fast-growing technology startups for your PR services, they'll likely be evaluating you based on your industry knowledge, previous experience in their space, and contacts you have in relevant press outlets. Know your customers and address their needs head-on. Customer service always wins.
2. Build Your Authority and Create Trust
How do you describe your business and business ideas online? Before you can be widely acknowledged as an expert or an authority in your space, you'll need people to trust and respect you. One of the most effective ways to build your reputation is by getting your customers to speak for you. It's much better to let your customers sing your praises than to toot your own horn about your incredible results and innovative services.
Ask your best clients for a review that you can publish on your website, social media channels, and client materials. If you've done a great job for them, they'll be more than happy to take a few minutes and write you a glowing review. You'll want to carefully choose who you ask for reviews — make sure they're from organizations or people that you would like to have more clients like. If you want more BMW dealerships as your dream clients, then you probably won't want to ask your friend's dog-grooming service to give you a review. Make sure you have a mix of existing and new customers, too. This will help bring in potential customers. Don't be afraid to use your positive results and testimonials in your reach-out strategy. If you've already helped one business in a specific industry accomplish their goals, chances are you're very well-equipped to help another similar business — show them that!
3. Give Away Free Resources that Instill Confidence
In today's business landscape, so much information is available for free if you know how to find it. That's why it's more important than ever to build a meaningful relationship with your prospective clients. Provide value before they even ask for anything, and they will be that much closer to signing a contract by the time you reach out.
Offer a free download of something that'll be of value to your ideal client's business, give free consultations to those who fit that ideal profile, or create a free online course that addresses some of the issues you've found your clients struggle with. If you can show your potential clients that you can clearly solve their challenges (or give them the tools and empower them to solve their own issues), you'll be a shoe-in for the first person they call once they're ready. Plus, you'll be able to keep in touch, stay top of mind, and build your relationship with them by regularly emailing out more content they'll be interested in. This is a great way to increase business growth.
4. Develop Your Red Velvet Rope Policy
What values do the people have with whom you do your best work? Come to terms with the reality that you don't just want clients who have huge budgets and deep pockets. Sure, you need all of your potential customers to be able to afford your fees, but sometimes those clients with the most money will also have the highest demands that drain the effectiveness of your business, they may not pay on time, or they may have a misaligned value system that doesn't match with your priorities.
Find your clients at the intersection of those who can afford your services at a price point that helps you effectively grow your business, and yet also allows you to produce your most effective results. If your client has all the money in the world but never pays on time, that doesn’t empower you to be confident in creating the best possible work for them.
5. Don't Be Afraid to Say No
Once you've developed your Red Velvet Rope Policy, you'll have a very clear picture of the clients that you need for your business. As long as those expectations are realistic, then don’t bog your business down by accepting clients who aren't going to help you perform at your best.
When you work with your ideal clients, you’ll produce your best work.
by MICHAEL PORT